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April 10, 2010 @ 4:00 am
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Scout Speak: Bucs Could Land DT Suh

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What will the Bucs do with the third overall pick in the draft? Which player and position do people in the NFL that are in the know believe the Bucs will target? Will the Bucs trade down? Pewter Report's anonymous NFL scout answers these questions and shares insight in this edition of Scout Speak.
This feature on PewterReport.com is known as "Scout Speak." PewterReport.com has partnered with an NFL scout under the condition they remain anonymous. Although we can't disclose who this person is or currently works for, this NFL Scout has nearly a decade worth of scouting experience at the NFL level.

It's widely believed in NFL circles that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are targeting defensive line with the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. It's safe to say that the Bucs are eyeing the top two defensive tackles - Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh - with that pick.

The Buccaneers have a need there because it's been several years since the defensive line was a strength of their defense. The play of Tampa Bay's defense, which included Simeon Rice and Warren Sapp, was crucial to the success the Bucs had when they were dominant up front and won Super Bowl XXXVII. Last year, Tampa Bay ranked 32nd against the run and recorded just 28 sacks.

One month ago I wouldn't have believed this, but I have been hearing that Suh could actually fall to the Bucs at number three overall. It's common knowledge that Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford is going number one overall to the St. Louis Rams now that they have released Marc Bulger, their former starting quarterback.

Over the years Detroit has spent a lot of money on its defensive line. That's where the Lions have spent the most amount of money and first-round picks with the exception of wide receiver. Detroit hasn't enjoyed the success it thought it would up front even after spending so much money and drafting that high. The Lions could be looking to go a different direction draft-wise, especially after taking QB Matt Stafford number one overall and paying him a lot of money -- most amount of guaranteed money for a rookie in the history of the NFL. That being said, a lot of people in the NFL believe the Lions need to draft a guy to help Stafford stay upright. Stafford absolutely took a beating last year and even had to be replaced by Daunte Culpepper at times due to injuries last year. That means there's a chance the Lions will select Oklahoma State left tackle Russell Okung with the second overall pick in the draft. If that scenario unfolds, which is a real possibility, both McCoy and Suh would be available when the Buccaneers are on the clock on Thursday, April 22.

So which player should the Bucs draft if both McCoy and Suh are on the board when they pick? There's an element to McCoy's game that suggests he might be a better fit for the Bucs, but all signs point to the fact that Suh could be one of the better defensive linemen ever, so it goes beyond fit to me. This might not be the perfect comparison, but you don't want to pass on the Michael Jordan of his position to go with a guy that might be a more natural shooter. You don't want to pick one element and focus too much on that. The element is on film McCoy looks like a more quick-twitch athlete and a more athletic guy, but the truth is if you look at the raw numbers and the data from the combine and workouts Suh had a much better workout athletically. He was better than McCoy in every drill. It's not like Suh is a one dimensional nose tackle - he's a guy that has the size, strength and ability to play pretty much every position along the front.

If they have the option of taking him with the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Buccaneers would be silly not to select Suh. You don't want to get too locked into what you're doing schematically. McCoy might have the chance to be the next Warren Sapp for Tampa Bay, but Suh's combination of size, strength and athleticism give him a chance to be even better than that.

The Bucs haven't been active in free agency, so it's no surprise to hear they could be interested in trading down to acquire more picks, especially with so many needs. Trading down can be tough, but make no mistake - the calls will be coming into Tampa Bay's war room if Suh still is on the board when the Bucs are on the clock. Suh is the type of player that comes around once a decade or so, and those are the types of players teams are willing to trade up for. Suh is probably the consensus top overall pick on every NFL team's board with the exception of a team that needs a quarterback, or maybe in Detroit's case, an offensive tackle. But the truth is if the Buccaneers are seriously trying to reassert themselves as one of the top defenses in the NFL they wouldn't even entertain any calls if Suh is still on the board when they pick.

By an anonymous NFL scout as told to PewterReport.com editor-in-chief Jim Flynn.


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